As weather experts watch the changing path and strength of Hurricane Dorian, Lowe’s Command Center is also keeping a close eye on the storm’s track and potential impact.
The Lowe’s Emergency Command Center officially activated Thursday, but on Monday a core team was working to make sure emergency supplies were already moving so they could be in the right place at the right time.
How We Prepare
Even before a storm is on the horizon, Lowe’s is readying itself to respond to natural disasters. Year-round, Lowe’s has a core team focused on disaster response and how the company can better prepare for and respond to meet the needs of customers, associates and communities during those times.
Lowe’s Command Center has specific response plans centered around four main stages:
This phase is focused on planning. Lowe’s pre-stages 25 trucks with emergency supplies, even before storms are predicted. This is also when Lowe’s Command Center plans the locations of those staged trucks, orders extra hurricane/disaster product and begins talks with merchants and vendors about how they can work together. The Command Center begins evaluating if more staged trucks are needed once a storm forms.
The Readiness phase typically happens one day before landfall. At this time, the pre-staged trucks are deployed to the areas expected to have the biggest impact. The extra product ordered in the Preseason phase are used to replenish more response trucks. The Command Center constantly monitors the storm track and reviews plans for hurricane item shipments. If a hurricane reaches a Category 2 level, additional support is pulled into the Command Center and it will officially be activated.
Response begins once the storm makes landfall. The Command Center works closely with regional and district managers in the impact area to understand what products and additional inventory are needed in the stores. The Command Center takes those requests and begins ordering and expediting those products as well as replenishing the distribution center used to feed product to the stores. The Command Center also works with Human Resources to make sure all associates are accounted for, if there are any physical impacts to the store locations or if the store needs to close or adjust hours.
During the Recovery phase, the Command Center continues to assess store inventory and requests from local leaders. The need for Associate Relief Teams, groups of associates from areas not impacted by the storm, is assessed and teams are deployed if needed. Based on storm impact, the Command Center works with Lowe’s Communications and Community Relations teams to begin planning relief events for customers and associates impacted the most. Relief efforts often consist of events at local stores where relief teams and nonprofit partners provide food, supplies and other resource support.